Evart football team celebrates homecoming win
EVART – Evart scored 55 points on Saturday but the defense especially did the trick in a 55-12 Highland Conference homecoming win over Roscommon.
The Wildcats intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble to win their third straight game and improve to 3-2 entering the final week of the regular season.
“I thought our kids did a nice job of executing the game plan,” Evart coach Pat Craven said. “We made a couple of adjustments on coverage at halftime, which paid off with some interceptions. More than anything, it was about us taking the steps to improve individually, offensively especially.”
Both teams scored on their first drive. Danny Witbeck passed 19 yards to Bryant Calderon to set up a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown.
The Bucks retaliated with Kody Kohn passing 5 yards to Drack Josts. The try for points failed and it was 7-6, Evart.
On Evart’s next drive, Witbeck threw up a high pass to Hayden Simmer who jumped high to bring it down and run to the end zone for a 60-yard play and 14-6 lead. The Kohn to Josts combination connected in the second quarter for a 6-yard pass play, narrowing Evart’s lead to 14-12.
Late in the second quarter, Evart ended a 67-yard scoring drive on Witbeck’s 2-yard run. Roscommon followed with a drive but it ended on a Calderon interception .
“Coach was saying backside receiver, and I had to drop back,” Calderon said. “I saw it and picked it off.”
Early in the third, Calderon, on an option pass, connected with a wide open Pierce Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown and 28-12 lead.
Witbeck put in a fancy piece of running on a 35-yard quarterback keeper for a touchdown. He danced his way past six would be tacklers for the TD and 35-12 lead at 5:21 of the third. Moments later, Johnson returned an interception 50 yards for the touchdown and 42-12 lead.
“We knew they were going to throw the ball a lot today,” Craven said. “We worked hard this week on coverage and our appropriate reads and recognition. Our kids did a decent job of that. We were out of place a little bit in the first half but made some adjustments and cleaned that up in the second half.”
In the fourth quarter, Witbeck passed 40 yards to Cole Hopkins for the touchdown and 49-12 lead with Reese Ransom booting his seventh straight PAT. Hopkins had a 9-yard scoring run late in the game.
“I thought we moved the ball well offensively,” senior Brayden Cass said. “We had a couple of mishaps defensively in the first half but cleaned it up. We played to our strengths and spread the field out.”
Witbeck had 10 carries for 80 yards and three rushing touchdowns, Calderon had nine carries for 73 yards, Cole Hopkins seven carries for 32 yards and a touchdown, Simmer three receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown, Hopkins two receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown.
In the air, Witbeck was six for 13 and 158 yards and two touchdown passes and an interception.
Defensively, Kam Grein had eight tackles including four for losses. Ransom had 10 tackles, and Donavan Balowski 11 tackles.
Evart plays arch-rival Pine River at home on Thursday as part of a JV-varsity doubleheader. The contest was moved from Friday in order to secure game officials.